Over the past few years, I have been trying to make the connection between startups and some of the new web based tools that are in the news. Unfortunately, blogging or social media tools just don’t resonate with many entrepreneurs. They just didn’t make the connection to their usefulness.
Now coming from a technology background where I was always looking at future products, I realize that it is not the users job to figure out why they should be using a technology. Whoever is offering the technology as a solution has that responsibility. Oh yeah, that would be me.
Every startup is challenged by restricted financial resources, extreme time limitations and the need to build their brand in order to get the traction they need and, by association, grow their businesses.
In the old days, say five years ago, you needed tons of cash to build your brochureware web site, hire a PR agency, and a marketing firm who would go out and help you defining your market and then research your target demographics and tell you what your customers are looking for. It also costs lots of money to keep your brochureware web site updated with fresh content since you really didn’t want to take the time to learn all the web languages needed to provide updates. Even the list of acronyms were daunting, HTML, XML, PHP, CSS, Dreamweaver, Contribute…
In today’s world, there a number of new content management tools that also have the capabilities of incorporating communities and, best of all, the are Open Source; implication, FREE! Not entirely free unless you want to learn how to develop the community sites on your own. Drupal is just such an environment.
Now you can have a site put up in no time at all and start conversations with your customers or market targets, which means that you have direct contact with your customer base, not filtered through some third party marketing firm. More importantly, once you get the conversations started, the data is current not 18 months old like in the old days.
Another important consideration is the number additional applications that can be easily added as you grow. You want video, there is an open source application with player. How about e-commerce. Download one and begin using it. Take a minute at look at what’s available over at Drupal.
You probably have all the equipment you need. A computer and Internet Access is a starting point. Don’t have your own server to host, no problem. There are lots of providers and the hosting fees have gone through the floor.
So, if you are getting your business together and wondering how you are going to get started, look at the possibilities of using tools like Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress as the way to offload the hard work of getting your name out and building your brand. Take a little time to see what’s available and then find somebody that knows about these technologies and can help you decide what’s possible and will work for you.